ACLGIM Leadership Forum

Review of the Literature

Crisis Leadership: Reflection and Harvard Business Review Resources

Dr. Maureen Lyons ( is an assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and an editor of the ACLGIM Leadership Forum.

In these trying and unprecedented times, what is needed from leaders looks very different. Harvard Business Review has, as usual, timely and concise articles that highlight practical and useful strategies. Reviewing the articles under the topic “Crisis Management,” Nancy Koehn’s article “Real Leaders Are Forged in Crisis” stands out as one that speaks to the complex challenges of living and leading through the coronavirus pandemic.1 She opens with the timely reminder that the ability to lead is learned (and sometimes, as the title suggests, can be “forged in crisis”) and provides the following four lessons:

  1. Acknowledge people’s fears, then encourage resolve
  2. Give people a role and purpose
  3. Emphasize experimentation and learning
  4. Tend to energy and emotion—yours and theirs.

One of the best practices of leadership is reflection. Take a moment to reflect on your own leadership practices during this difficult time of crisis. What has worked very well, and what would you consider doing differently in the future? As this crisis evolves, continue to take time for yourself to reflect, recharge, adapt, and overcome.


  1. Koehn N. Real Leaders Are Forged in Crisis. Harvard Business Review. Published April 3, 2020. Accessed May 15, 2020.


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